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Reports: Russian pianist arrested in Thailand on child sex charges

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Acclaimed Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev arrested in Thailand
  • He was questioned on allegations of rape involving an under-age boy
  • Thai court allowing Pletnev to leave the country

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Acclaimed Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev has been charged with sexually abusing under-age children in Thailand, police said Wednesday.

Pletnev was arrested and released on bail, a police official involved with the investigation told CNN.

Pletnev was arrested and charged Tuesday with raping a 14-year-old boy in a Thai beach town, a crime that carries a maximum prison term of 20 years upon conviction, Thailand's official MCOT news agency reported.

He was released on $9,000 bail and ordered to be back in the country by July 18, according to Itar-Tass, the official Russian news agency.

Russia demanded clarification of the sex abuse charges against its Grammy-winning pianist, the state-run news agency RIA-Novosti said.

"The Russian Culture Ministry together with Russian Foreign Ministry have forwarded an urgent order to the Russian Embassy in Thailand to make all necessary efforts to clarify the situation and to offer maximum consulate protection to the distinguished musician," according to an online cultural ministry statement cited by RIA-Novosti.

A Russian diplomat in Thailand said the pianist denied the charges, Itar-Tass said.

"He is calm and confident that everything that happens with him is a misunderstanding that would soon become clarified," the diplomat said. "Pletnev has a Thai lawyer and is ready to testify in court."

Itar-Tass said the allegations against Pletnev were based on the testimony of a Thai citizen who claimed that he helped arrange Pletnev's purchase of sexual services.

 
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